We continue from our hiatus from UCLA football recruiting by looking at four-star safety Hatari Byrd out of Fresno, CA.
First, as always, some video:
Of course, the first thing we can assume is that the dude played in the box pretty often, and for damn good reason. He is a safety whose strength, primarily, seems to be tackling. He seems to have solid patience, vision and speed when trying to track down the ball-carrier. The dude wraps up the ball-carrier well, too, and he can be seen being able to make tackles and pursue from behind.
What we don’t see in the video is the dude dropping back in coverage downfield. It can be assumed that this will be a weak point for him based solely on this highlight tape.
Do the scouting reports agree? For the most part, yes, they do.
But what do they say, specifically? As we observed, they say that Byrd’s strength is in run support and notes that he does, indeed, play in the box a hell of a lot, and more than your average safety. Furthermore, they confirm that the dude has crazy athleticism — in this case, speed — to play catch up and make stops from behind.
His size, too, is something scouts rave on about. The dude is 6’1”, 192 lbs, which is legitimate for a safety. He’s athletic as hell but the scouting reports also say that he’s incredibly raw, relying purely on his athleticism to make plays. Dude can work on his technique. At the same time, though, the scouts love his ability to pursue at advantageous angles and get past blockers.
Overall, he’s another raw kid out of high school with the versatility that’s allowed by his size and athleticism. (Scouts think he can play linebacker at the college level.)
The secondary is an area of weakness, for these Bruins. UCLA could use a guy with the skill and talent that Byrd possesses. Currently, Byrd is said to have strong interest in Oklahoma and UCLA. If and when he commits, you’ll hear from us.